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Research Assistant

Applications are invited for a Research Assistant to join the Laboratory of Professor Steven Penfield.


The Penfield group works to understand how weather and climate affect plant reproductive development and seed quality. They are especially interested in the effects of temperature on crop yields, seed quality and seedling establishment.

Their work uses crop species from the Brassica family, especially oilseed rape (canola) and vegetable Brassicas, as well as model species such as Arabidopsis thaliana. In this way they aim to understand precise mechanisms by which weather and climate affect crop performance, an consider strategies for increasing crop resilience, for instance using conventional plant breeding or genome editing techniques.

The role

The Research Assistant will help run a project aiming to investigate how the mother plant controls the germination of her progeny seeds. The position will play an important role in understanding how natural variation has influenced the process, testing the effects of different gene variants on germination control. Principally, this will require gene cloning and production of transgenic Arabidopsis plants.

You will join a dynamic research group which aims to understand key processes by which weather and climate variation affect seed performance and crop yields.

The ideal candidate

The ideal candidate will have a BSc or equivalent in biology or biochemistry. Previous experience in recombinant DNA techniques and in growing and maintaining transgenic plants is essential. The Research Assistant should also have significant postgraduate experience in a laboratory setting.

Additional information

Salary on appointment will be within the range £24,815 to £30,270 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This post is for 22.5 hours per week for a contract of 18 months.

We welcome applications from candidates seeking job-share, part-time or other flexible working arrangements.

Note, this post does not meet UKVI requirements to provide Tier 2 visa sponsorship.

Further information and details of how to apply can be found here or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or  quoting reference 1003841.

Informal enquiries are welcome by email to Professor Steven Penfield.

We are an equal opportunities employer, actively supporting inclusivity and diversity.  As a Disability Confident organisation, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy. The John Innes Centre is also proud to hold a Gold Award from Athena SWAN and is a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.

The closing date for applications will be 29 January 2020.  

The John Innes Centre is a registered charity (No. 223852) grant-aided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

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